CRANDON - A new Pew Research study conducted in February shows that a large majority of Americans support treatment for non-violent drug users instead of mandatory jail sentences.
67 percent of people surveyed believe the government and courts should focus on treatment for drug users.
Judges and prosecutors face a tough judgement and balance of figuring out the appropriate punishment for non-violent drug users in court.
Forest County Prosecutor Chuck Simono says he sees a remarkably high number of repeat offenders in the county even after spending time in jail.
"Just from what I've seen in Forest County over the last six years, I would put the recidivism rate in excess of 70 to 80 percent," Simono said.
Many Wisconsin communities are turning to drug treatment courts. It's a program with courts for non-violent drug users that combines treatment, sanctions, drug tests and care for when they've stopped using drugs.
Simono says the social movement has shifted to more of a focus on treatment to get people rehabilitated and back in the community. He seems more hopeful for people successfully going through a drug treatment program.
"They're going to return to the community, they're going to get a job, they're going to be productive," Simono said. "They're going to help contribute to a positive way of life rather than what we see when we just jail people."
Leaders in Forest County, including the Forest County Potawatomi, hope to form a treatment court to help users and cut costs.
"The cost to just continually jail individuals is just enormous," Simono said. "Unfortunately for some individuals that's going to be the only answer, others will find treatment successful."
Prosecutors, judges and social workers want to rehabilitate everyone, but sometimes even treatment isn't the answer. Simono says some people decline treatment for jail instead. Others repeatedly go through treatment without fully grasping the rehab.
"We have others that insist on treatment that have been five times already," Simono said. "They're still not adapting and utilizing the coping skills that they've been acquiring over all of their trips to treatment."
Leaders in Forest County hope to win a federal grant that would pay for the setup of the court.
The treatment court could be running as soon as this year if they win the grant, but the county and Forest County Potawatomi don't have the funding to start the court without federal help.
Wisconsin has around 50 drug treatment courts throughout the state.
RHINELANDER - After the vendors closed up at the end of the first Hodag Farmers Market of the season, several people stayed behind to honor the man who started the market.
That's Douglas Jacobson, and he died last October.
His son, Jonathan Jacobson, said Douglas Jacobson was a big part of the Rhinelander community‚Ä"serving as Lions Club president, being part of many clubs and being a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service.
The Jacobson family and Rhinelander city leaders worked to dedicate a bench in his honor in Pioneer Park. That bench went up on Saturday, just off the road that leads into the park.
"He was a pioneer in helping to establish the Hodag Farmers Market many years ago. And from those humble beginnings, the market vendors, the patrons that arrive here, the citizens of Rhinelander, and those in the community have a wonderful place to come to get fresh, home grown, locally grown vegetables," Jonathan Jacobson said. "It was a great event. It was really nice to have everybody stop out and pay attention to what my dad's been doing and acknowledge all the effort he put into the farmers market for many years. And not only that, dad was a great citizen here in the Rhinelander community."
WAUSAU - In the midst of a national push to prescribe fewer painkillers, a new Wisconsin proposal appeared that would let chiropractors prescribe prescription drugs, including painkillers.
After speaking with one of the bill's authors, that notion is not at all true.
John Murray, the executive director of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, which supports the bill, said the bill was never intended to cover narcotics, or any drugs not related to neuro-muscular skeletal healing. The bill is in its early stages, having had a co-sponsor hearing on Tuesday, and future drafts of the bill will feature more specific language.
RHINELANDER - You'll likely find some slow-moving guests on the road this weekend. Turtles start laying their eggs in late May and continue through mid-June. But, because of where they like to lay those eggs, it's a dangerous time for the reptiles.
Wild Instincts Rehab Center in Rhinelander treats at least 30 injured turtles each summer. Painted and snapping turtles are most common in the Northwoods. They tend to lay their eggs along roadsides, driveways, and in places with soft sand.
ANTIGO - For the first time since 2013, deer hunters in Langlade and Price counties will be able to target does with an antlerless deer tag in hand.
This week, Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board approved the fall hunt plans submitted by County Deer Advisory Councils (CDACs) all over the state. Langlade and Price counties had had bucks-only harvests in each of the last two deer seasons. But in 2016, some hunters will get antlerless tags as well.
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